i am 15, i first walk through their door with schoolfriend, dave after skipping school and spending the start of the afternoon in the university with college students, smoking weed in a society room on one of the top floors of the 16th century landmark building - i hadn't noticed this portland stone beauty before that afternoon! we went downstairs with a coffee and a cheese sandwich, where i struggled to find the beginning of the cling-wrap - we were going to sit here for hours, there was no rush!
i sit here again, some 20 years later, pull the ends of the cling-wrap and watch the sandwich spin open, before searching the surface of the sandwich for where to begin unwrapping - simon has mastered the simple cheese sandwich, and i still have trouble opening it! i don't eat so many cheese sandwiches these days, but with a side of nostalgia and a chat with the charming staff, i spread mustard on the bread, add some cheese and onion crisps and bite in...
i am 16, visiting the never-ageing white-haired gent across the arcade, getting my nipple pierced with fake id, as only the nipple or the cock would go unseen!
i am 17, adding rum to my coffee.
i am 18, feeling up a goth girl i met at the central bank.
i am 19, and one of the lucky few that got inside to see the frames play a secret filmed gig.
i am 20, changing microphones at a venue up the road at my first "big" gig.
i am 21, on a break between lectures, after finally going to university to study something "proper" in an attempt to take myself more seriously - it didn't work - i'm still a joke!
i am 22, studying in a corner downstairs between soundcheck and show, as regardless of what "serious" is, music is where my home is!
i am 23, having coffee with my lecturer, as i'm on a year away from college and he's cool!
i am 24, missing living here and thinking of coming home to finish college - music didn't work out!
i am 25, and finding my voice as a singer and meeting musicians.
i am 26, studying my ass off in the corner and writing about bach and palladio.
i am 27, sticking up posters for my very own concerts.
i am 28, taking a break from busking.
i am 29, playing songs with ben and kevin at closing time for esther, annie and simon.
i am 30, 31, 32, ... popping in whenever i'm home to shoot the breeze and talk economically of adventure - these people are some of my favorites - i wish i knew them better!
i sit the afternoon away in the window, writing and reading and watching people walk by, with the odd friendly exchange or smile, happy that as dublin closes down around him, simon stays put, washing the cups.